Can a Retailer Be Held Responsible for a Defective Product?

Published on Nov 11, 2022 at 5:41 pm in Product Liability.

When you purchase an item in-store or order a product offline, you expect it to function safely and as advertised. When a product causes harm instead, consumers may be able to recoup the cost of their damages.

Determining who can be held responsible in a product liability case can be challenging, though. At Prince Law Firm, our lawyers work closely with Illinois injury victims to determine potential defendants for their claims. This process often includes determining whether a retailer can be held responsible for a defective product.

What Is a Defective Product?

A defective product can be defined as a product that does not function as intended or advertised, and that causes serious injury or damage to the consumer or user. Defects may fall into the following categories:

  • Design – This type of defect exists within the design itself.
  • Manufacturing – This type of defect occurs during the manufacturing process.
  • Labeling – This type of defect fails to warn consumers of critical information.

When a product malfunctions, does not perform as advertised or lacks warning labels that advise consumers of correct usage, it is defective. Injuries, property damage, or other damages caused by a defective product are compensable in a product liability claim.

When Can a Retailer Be Held Responsible for a Defective Product?

Product liability lawsuits often name the manufacturer or designer of a product as the at-fault parties. However, there may be a third party that is also responsible for your injuries—the retailer who sold the product.

A retailer can often be held responsible for the harm caused by a defective product. When a retailer stocks an item for sale and advertises it to customers, they are implying that it is safe and appropriate for use by consumers. Even if a retailer was not aware of the dangers of a certain product, its endorsement of the product’s safety and efficacy that caused harm is sufficient to file a product liability lawsuit against the business.

What Is a Retailer?

A retailer is a business or person that sells products to consumers, generally in small quantities, for the purpose of consumption, not resale. A retail establishment is a place where you might purchase groceries, clothing, or household items. Some of the largest retailers in Marion, IL include:

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Sam’s Club
  • Dollar Tree
  • Kroger
  • Home Depot

Marion is also located within driving distance of several other cities, including Chicago, where consumers sometimes travel to shop or visit retailers that do not have physical locations in our city.

Can I Hold Amazon Responsible for a Defective Product?

With an average of 66,000 U.S. orders shipped every hour, Amazon is the largest online retailer in the United States. Product liability cases involving items purchased from Amazon can be complicated, though. Some products sold on the retailer’s website are not actually sold by Amazon, but by third-party sellers who are using Amazon’s platform. Although these products are listed as “fulfilled by Amazon,” they are not actually sold by them.

In most cases, you cannot name Amazon in a product liability case if the defective product came from a third-party seller. However, Amazon has a policy that compensates consumers for injuries and property damage up to $1,000, even if the dangerous product was sold by a third party.

If you purchased a defective product through Amazon, you should be sure to meet with a product liability attorney to determine whether you purchased the item from Amazon or one of its many third-party sellers. If your damages exceed $1,000, Amazon’s policy will not be sufficient to compensate for your injuries, and you may need to proceed with a product liability claim against the at-fault retailer.

Proving a Defective Product Claim Against a Retailer

There are four main elements to a successful product liability claim. To secure compensation from a retailer, you must prove these elements:

  • You were using the product for its intended purpose
  • The product was defective and did not perform as advertised
  • You were injured by the defective product
  • You suffered damages related to your injuries

Each of the above elements must be present in your case. Proving each point can be a challenge, especially if you are unfamiliar with how product liability claims are handled in Illinois. At Prince Law Firm, our attorneys are well-versed in all state and federal laws that might govern a defective product case, so do not hesitate to contact us if you were harmed by a dangerous or defective product.

What Compensation Am I Entitled To?

Compensation available in a product liability lawsuit will vary widely depending on the specific case. While we cannot say with any certainty what compensation you may be entitled to without meeting and discussing your case in person, the typical product liability lawsuit involves compensation for some of the following damages:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Property damage or auto repair bills
  • Loss of current and future income
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional anguish

When you seek compensation in a product liability case, you are going up against retailers that have the backing of lawyers and insurance companies. Your chances of securing full and fair compensation on your own are slim, which is why we recommend that anyone who has been injured by a defective product secure the services of an experienced product liability lawyer.

Working with a lawyer also shows the insurance company that you mean business, and that you are not willing to accept anything less than the maximum compensation you are owed.

Are You Ready To Hold a Retailer Responsible for a Defective Product?

You should never have been put in a position where you were injured by a defective product. By stocking, advertising, and selling a defective product, the retailer you purchased the item from could potentially be held liable for any of your resulting injuries and damages.

At Prince Law Firm, our product liability lawyers have experience representing victims in a wide range of complex defective product cases, and we are prepared to take on your case next. Call our Marion, IL office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.



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